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Pan Pipes

by Colin E.

I would like to tell you how I made the panpipes, a fun woodwind instrument. It is used in many cultures around the world. It's also know as the raft pipes because of its resemblance to a raft. I got the idea from the Internet site, http://www.menc.org, The National Association for Music Education website. I listened to a sample of the pipes on the site and the pitch sounded wonderful. The pipes produce a cheerful, light sound.

I made the instrument out of these things: 1 and 1/2 inch inside diameter PVC pipe, wood, screws, plastic wrap, duct tape and spray paint. The tools I used to make it were a drill, hacksaw, sandpaper, and a screwdriver. I found all of these items at my house except for the PVC pipe and the hacksaw that we bought at Home Depot.

My Dad and I worked together to make my instrument. First, my Dad held the ruler and I marked where we wanted to cut on the PVC pipe. Next, I cut the pipe with my hacksaw. After that, I sanded the pipe ends with the sandpaper and taped the pipes together. I held the pipes while my Dad taped them tougher, shortest to longest. Dad and I used wadded up plastic wrap to stop up the bottom of each pipe. We tried different shapes to see which would fit the best. The cylinder shape worked the best. We did this so that the pipe would play a note. We had a problem. The pipes were wiggling because the pipes were round and wouldn't stay in one place while I was playing it. So, my Dad go a drill bit the same size as my pipes. Then we took a piece of wood that was one inch by two inches by six inches, drilled the holes close to each other and cut the piece in half the long way. Then we put the two pieces of wood around the pipes and screwed the wood pieces together. My Mom and I tuned my pipes by using my grandmother's piano. We changed the pitch by moving the wadded plastic wrap up and down in the pipe. I was surprised that most of the notes were perfect.

Blowing across the top or blowing down into the pipes plays my instrument. Blowing across the top makes a louder sound than blowing down on it. It will make a high or low sound depending on which pipe you blow into. The notes that each pipe plays are G, A, B, D, and E. You can change the volume by blowing hard or soft on the pipes.

I thought that the essay wasn't good, but making the instrument was fun. I like changing the pitch and the volume on the instrument. I learned how to fix problems on an instrument. All in all, I like the project.